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Children's Chances

Children's Chances

How Countries Can Move from Surviving to Thriving

Jody Heymann

ISBN 9780674067974

Publication date: 02/13/2013

Most parents care deeply about their children. If that were enough, we would not see the inequalities we currently do in children’s opportunities and healthy development—children out of school, children laboring, children living in poverty. While the scale of the problems can seem overwhelming, history has shown that massive progress is possible on problems that once seemed unsolvable. Within the span of less than twenty-five years, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty has been cut in half, the number of children under age five that die each day has dropped by over 12,000, and the percentage of girls attending school has climbed from just three in four to over 90 percent.

National action, laws, and public policies fundamentally shape children’s opportunities. Children’s Chances urges a transformational shift from focusing solely on survival to targeting children’s full and healthy development. Drawing on never-before-available comparative data on laws and public policies in 190 countries, Jody Heymann and Kristen McNeill tell the story of what works and what countries around the world are doing to ensure equal opportunities for all children. Covering poverty, discrimination, education, health, child labor, child marriage, and parental care, Children’s Chances identifies the leaders and the laggards, highlights successes and setbacks, and provides a guide for what needs to be done to make equal chances for all children a reality.


  • With its amazing synthesis of evidence, Children's Chances maps out what countries are now doing—and what more they can do—to address problems in the lives of children around the world. This book is a valuable resource, not just for agencies like Save the Children, but for individual citizens who champion all children's opportunities to develop to their fullest potential.

    —Jasmine Whitbread, CEO, Save the Children


  • Jody Heymann is Dean of the Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Book Details

  • Harvard University Press
  • With Kristen McNeill